Pure Comedy Father John Misty Sub Pop/Inertia Josh Tillman has gotten a little uneasy about the planet since his previous album as Father John Misty, 2015’s relatively sprightly and at times hilarious — albeit in his typically caustic manner — I Love You, Honeybear. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and former Fleet Foxes drummer took a few swipes at the modern world on that album, notably in Bored in the USA and the despairing closing shout, Holy Shit. Here, over 13 songs, he is fully immersed in the trials of the 21st century, describing the album as “a 75-minute treatise on modern despair”. You get Tillman on religious bigotry and political ineptitude ( Pure Comedy), on the nature of celebrity ( Total Entertainment Forever) and much more. What takes all of these rants into another realm is the exquisite language in which they are delivered and the delicate, laid-back arrangements that back them up. Honeybear channelled the Beach Boys, John Lennon and Simon & Garfunkel in places; here Harry Nilsson and the ambience of Beck’s Morning Phase spring to mind, but the questioning lyrics and their pained delivery are unique to Tillman. The 13-minute centrepiece and masterpiece, Leaving LA, an aching, stripped-back diatribe on modern living, is hypnotising in its slow burn and mesmerising in its scope. The ambient, 10minute So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain is equally compelling, but everything here, much of it piano-based, is beautiful, challenging and seductive. An album-of-the-year contender.